The Classic Kanjeevaram Silk Saree - A STORY OF DIVINE INTERVENTION.
by Bhargavi Mittalu on Aug 01, 2022
A Kanjeevaram silk saree is not merely a piece of cloth. It is believed to be a divine blessing from the supreme beings that move this universe.
A STORY OF DIVINE INTERVENTION
A Kanjeevaram silk saree, unaltered since its inception, has been a favourite among the Gods. According to Hindu mythology, Sage Markandeya was the principal weaver for the Gods. He was known to have a keen eye for mythological fashion and would even weave clothing using lotus fibre. His story is often associated with the ancestry of Kanjeevaram weavers, but we know very little about what conspired in the story.
Lord Shiva once asked Sage Markandeya to perform a yagna to clothe the nakedness of the people in the world. A metaphor to eliminate an uncultured way of living. Out of this yagna emerged Bhavanarayana, who was adopted as a son by Sage Markandeya. He then sent him to Lord Vishnu, who offered him fibres from the Lotus stem that emerged from his naval. Bhavana Rishi then adopted 101 sons, who took up the art of weaving and ensured that the devas, and humans, had a continuous supply of this divine piece of cloth.
The Padmashali and Devanga weavers of Andhra Pradesh associate themselves with this story and believe to be the descendants of Sage Markandeya. To this day, the weavers of this community feel connected to the supreme being and feel an aura of divine intervention while performing the act of weaving.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE QUEEN OF SILKS
About 400 years ago, two significant weaving communities from Andhra Pradesh migrated to the quaint town of Kanjeevram in the Vijayanagara Empire ruled by Krishna Deva Raya. Inspired by this town's temple architecture and beauty, the weavers inculcated the design language into their weaves. As a result, one can feel the pillars of Kanchipuram temples come alive in an authentic Kanjeevaram weave.
The advent of the Kanjeevaram silk begins with the Pallava period. Pallavas came to Kanchipuram from Andhra Pradesh, and the question as to why they came to Kanchipuram is something to think about. Even before the Pallavas, Kanchipuram was the centre of education, and it is also believed to be where religions like Buddhism and Jainism thrived. The noted Chinese traveller Hun Sung mentioned that Emperor Ashoka had built a Stupa in Kanchipuram in honour of Buddha. Kanchipuram was also a place where universities were established, and Deccan princes, even from Konkan kingdoms, went to Kanchipuram for education.
The Kanjeevaram silk industry thrived for hundreds of years, undeterred by any influences. However, in the 18th century, the industry took a massive hit due to the French and British wars, leading to a brief decline. With the advent of British rule in the Indian subcontinent, Kanjeevaram weaving was brought back to its former glory.
A TRUE LOVE STORY BETWEEN HANDLOOMS AND MAVURI
In the 1930s, Mavuri's matriarch Mavuri Veeramma Garu would curate and sell the finest handwoven saris as an exclusive wedding edit. Dressed in a kaasta (a saree draping form), she would sell the handwoven weaves from house to house. Be it her authentic dressing style or her eternal love for handloom products; there are countless little things about her from which we gain immense inspiration. But, above all, her undying spirit to be bold and fiercely independent makes her the muse of Mavuri.
This lustrous Kanjeevaram weave is intertwined with mythological emotion, history, and the elegance of pure zari. Owing to the Kanjeevaram's traditional hues and time-honoured motifs, it has become a significant investment for every Indian woman.
THE GOLD OF MATTER
Kanjeevaram silk saree and the gold zari are a match made in heaven. Real zari is made from silver or gold thread, extracted from silver or gold alloys, and flattened by passing it through rollers. The flattened silver threads are wound on silk yarns creating an excellent silken weave.
The precious metals woven into this craft reflect the use of zari as a medium of expression and symbolism. Its history can be traced back to Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Rig-Veda’s sacred scriptures, which refer to a fabric woven of pure gold. The metallic gold yarn was used in historic textiles worldwide, including brocades in Europe, velvet weaves in Persia and Iran, and silks from Southeast Asia. It was regarded as a symbol of purity and nobility, attracting the support of royals and aristocrats. During the Mughal dynasty, the zari grew in popularity and symbolised the dynasty's luxury and wealth.
According to surveys, Surat, the country's central zari hub, is home to over 500 manufacturing units and 3,000 small household units that produce authentic zari yarns,
Click on the link below to shop from Mavuri's exquisite Kanjeevaram Silk saree collection.